Inishowen: Its History, Traditions, & Antiquities;
By Maghtochair (Michael Harkin)
Londonderry, 1867

Note: This story of the McLaughlin brothers was copied nearly verbatim by Amy Young in her "Three Hundred Years in Inishowen."

"Just beyond the church, and on the same side of the road,
stands Dresden. It is now in ruins; but enough remains to
show that it was once a most magnificent seat. An outline of
its istory and of that of its several occupants will, I am sure,
be read with interest. In the first half of the 17th century a
man named M'Laughlin lived in the townland of Claar. Claar
skirts the river Foyle, and is situated between Moville and
Redcastle. M'Laughlin still preserved a moiety of the property
which his forefathers once held, for he was owner of the townland
of Claar. He had two sons, Domhnall and Peter. These were
destined for the Catholic priesthood. On their voyage to the
Continent, to enter a Catholic college, the vessel was shipwrecked;
so says tradition. They were driven on the English coast, where, a
nobleman interested in behalf of the two young men, took them to
his home, and offered then the hospitality of his mansion. He proposed,
if they conformed to the religion of the Established Church, to have them
educated in one of the English Universities. Domhnall, in an evil hour,
yielding to the seductions of the evil one, accepted the proposal. Peter
met it with a stern refusal. Years rolled on. Peter proceeded on his
journey to the Continent, entered college, and was ordained priest; and,
after a lapse of time, returned to his native land. Domhnall became a
minister of the Established Church. By a singular coincidence one
became rector, and the other parish priest of the same parish of Clonmany.
Nothing could be more opposite than the circumstances in which they
were placed. Domhnall had a large well-built church, but no congregation
save two or three members; for, even at the present day, the Protestant
population of the parish scarce exceeds a dozen souls. He must have
been a man of great, if we are to judge from the residence he built, and
the manner in which he beautified and adorned it; for, though it is now
a ruin, the tourist must admit that, of the many lovely spots with which
Inishowen abounds, Dresden is the loveliest of them all. The scenery is
more than lovely: it is sublime. In fact there is everything which constitutes
sublimity; rich pasture lands, well cultivated fields, venerable old trees, that
have seen many decades of years; and, in the distance, lofty overhanging
mountains, a glen and waterfall inerior to nothing of the kind in the north
of Ireland; besides the broad blue waves of the Atlantic roll in at the beach
at the distance of about half-a-mile. This beautiful mansion was built by
Domhnall M'Laughlin, known by the sobriquet of Domhnall Gorm. Peter
lived in an humble thatched cabin by the sea-side, or on the mountain
top. They held but little communication with each other, and both
lived to a good old age. Domhnall died first. His death took place
in 1711. Peter wept unceasingly for him, and soon followed him to a
sorrowful grave. Domhnall was a poet and a wit, and Peter's
qualifications in these respects were little inferior. Many of their
sallies and repartees are yet remembered. On one occasion Domhnall
was coming down to his church when Peter, returning after having
celebrated the Sunday mass, met him on the way. Domhnall accosted
him thus, "One going over, the other coming back." Peter replied,
"No so; 'tis one going up, the other going down." Their mother lived
for many years after Domhnall's appointment to the rectory, and often
gave vent to her grief for his change of faith; and that too with all the
eloquence of the poetry of her native tongue. I subjoin a fragment
of one of the ballds she composed on this head; it contains a
translation of her wail as nearly as I can render it:-

"Can it e'er be spoken,
How my heart is broken,
For thy fall, O Domhnall, from the ancient faith!-
With less of sorrow,
Could I view to-morrow,
My lost one herding on the mountain brown,
Than strange doctrines teaching,
And new tenets preaching,
At yon lordly window in his silken gown."